by Michael Stewart
“...but something has kept them together: love, company, custom. The weather.”
Couples is a blackly comic sequence of poems that explore the nature of co-dependency – of two people who want to be together, but at the same time cannot help but push each other away.
The layout of the book is itself a commentary on the phenomenon – the poems are placed in their own 'couples', twelve pairs that face each other across the page. Sometimes they exchange a glance, sometimes they stand side-by-side, staring out into the abyss; only when the book is closed, and they are in darkness, do they truly come together.
Originally published on Valentine’s Day 2013, the seven-year itch has brought Michael Stewart back to his old flame for a new edition in 2020; reworking the original poems, and adding a dozen more. The result is an unnervingly perceptive volume, to be shared with your ‘other half’ at your own risk – you may never look at a couple, or each other, the same way again.
“Bleak but wonderful ... familiar, and of course funny.”
— Alan Bennett
“Dark, funny and twisted, but surprisingly tender.”
— A.L. Kennedy
Date Published: 2020-02-14
Catalogue Number: VP0160
Number of Pages: 48
Cover design by Jamie McGarry
Cover photograph by the author
Be part of our story. Join the Valley Press newsletter.